Your guide to Monument valley
Headed out West ? This guide to Monument Valley need to be added to your list! On the border of Utah and Arizona lies Monument Valley Navajo Tribal park. A national landmark, and part of Navajo Nation, this gem can’t be missed. Photo opportunities, scenic drives and native art are just a few things you will stumble upon when visiting Monument Valley. Stay for a while, book one of the many lodging options or set up a tent in the wilderness. Monument Valley has something for everyone, stay tuned as I detail the top things to do, places to stay and where to eat near Monument Valley!
Headed to Utah from Arizona? Don’t miss this!
Monument Valley, also known in Native Navajo as “Tsé Biiʼ Ndzisgaii.” Soak up Navajo history, amazing buttes and breathtaking monuments as you travel through the park. There are many things to do inside Monument Valley Park that’s why today I wrote this guide for you, depending on your type of adventure.
Up for some beautiful views, without the strenuous hike? Take a cruise on “Valley Drive” around Monument Valley. During this 17 mile loop you will pass rock formations, and buttes that will take your breath away. Don’t worry, there are many places to stop and snap a photo along the way!
If you are familiar with the outdoors and your skills, head to the Wildcat Trail. This trail is the only self-guided hike in the park and allows you to get up close and personal with the Mitten buttes. Head to the Visitor center and grab a free permit. Now you are ready to set out on your own adventure in Monument Valley!
If you want to explore other areas, try a guided tour!
If Teardrop Arch catches your eye, there are guided hikes for about $80 a pop. This 3 hour guided tour will bring you up close and personal with the beauty of Monument Valley.
You might be thinking.. I can do it on my own. Well, unlike some other parks across the US, this one is part of Navajo Nation and as guests, we must respect the rules. Guided tours prevent damage to sacred grounds, as well as provide jobs and income to the local community!
If you are up for an overnight adventure, check out the Hunt’s Mesa tour, an influencer’s dream photo spotl. Learn about the petroglyphs and history of the area during this unforgettable experience through Monument Valley. This once in a lifetime opportunity can cost up to $400, but the steak dinner before bed makes this worth it.
Sightseeing/ Top Spots
If you are like me, and research the funkiest formations and jaw dropping buttes, you won’t want to miss these on your trip through Monument Valley. Stop along the road and snap a photo.. If you’re daring, run in the middle and get that shot! There are 27 viewpoints throughout the park, but these are my favorites:
Forrest Gump Point
Are you a cult classic fan? You’ll want to take the drive down the 163, 20 minutes from the visitor center. This famous road is the backdrop to many a movie, Forrest Gump being only one.
While on Valley Drive, continue past Elephant Butte, and pull off at the viewpoint for Three Sisters. These pinnacles stand out strong and independent from the surrounding ridgeline. From this spot you can see John Ford’s Point ahead on the right, and buttes in the distance.
One of the best overlooks in Monument Valley, add this to your list as you travel through the park. From this vantage point you can see multiple buttes, with Spearhead Mesa standing tall in the background.
Shopping for Native Treasures
Interested in picking up some gifts for the family? Make a stop on your way into Monument Valley at one of the many local native vendors that are set up. About a mile prior to the visitor center you will come across tables and stands of native art, jewelry and collectables. Grab a dreamcatcher, a turquoise ring or a traditional arrow while browsing with the Buttes as your backdrop. Supporting the local community is one of the best ways to support the park!
So where do you get a good night’s rest in Monument Valley?
Getting a good night’s rest, and waking up to views of the monuments should be something you consider. I stayed one night in a quaint little cabin I found on Airbnb. This little cabin had a studio feel with a patio to die for. The wood stove going at sunset made the views over the buttes that much better.
If you are thinking of staying near Monument Valley, you have a few options. Grab an Airbnb, or try one of these:
If you are interested in being one with nature? Grab a camping spot at one of these options in Monument Valley.
Located on the cliffs outside of The View Hotel, these wilderness spots have some of the best views you can ask for. Have an RV? You’re in luck, they have RV sites too.. With slightly less view.
Other Camping Options
- Goosenecks State Park
- Monument Valley KOA
- HipCamp – Private camping spots
Envision yourself opening the blinds in the morning to the sunrise over Monument Valley?
Make a reservation at The View Hotel. They offer hotel rooms in the main lodge and cabins around the property. The cabins are the way to go if you want a private experience with breathtaking views outside your front door. If you want to be high above the Mesa’s, seeing near and far, grab a hotel room on an upper floor. This Hotel is a one stop shop, schedule a guided tour in the lobby and swing into the trading post for any forgotten essentials. If you can squeeze this into the budget, The View can cost you between $200-$300 a night.
Now that you have a list in hand of what to see, how to hike, and where to sleep, let’s go to Monument Valley! This Landmark on Navajo Land is a prize, a wonder to behold, and a place you don’t want to miss on your roadtrip. Up for more adventure? Monument Valley borders Utah, where the recreation is endless. Need to cool down? Take the two hour drive to Lake Powell to enjoy the reservoir while you can.
I hope you enjoyed this guide to Monument Valley !
For more on Lake Powell, head here: